Translations in Gujarati

I was looking through some of the exceptional and creative projects going on at SuttaCentral, specifically Bilara. I read through the “How To…” guides (I have a github account and can access some Bilara content).
I have been looking through SuttaCentral translations in north Indian languages, and I realized that there are actually very few translations. There are some in Hindi but none in Gujarati. I am particularly keen on translating suttas into Gujarati - my “mother tongue” as they say in India. I have been playing around with translating suttas from Pali+English translations to Hindi and Gujarati for a while - mostly looking into creating a more reader-friendly translations capturing the context and phrasing, much in the spirit of the guidelines on Bilara. The few Hindi translations I found on SuttaCentral are in such a pure form exact and literal Hindi that they are quite difficult to understand - no one except maybe a few academics will use or understand many of the words and phrases in those translations.
I was wondering if I may be allowed an opportunity to create and submit new translations in Gujarati on Bilara. To give my background and suitability for such a task, although I am a physicist and applied mathematician (so not a linguist) but I have studied Gujarati, Hindi, and Sanskrit up to quite high levels. Please let me know if this would be possible or not and what else do I need to do.
Bilara guides say that I need to contact SuttaCentral and Bhante Sujato but not exactly how so I wasn’t sure. I apologize in advance if this is in the wrong section or incorrectly tagged.
With Gratitude


Hi @trusolo, thank you for proposing to dive into Gujarati translations. I am still calling Bhante @sujato’s attention.

I personally am always a bit enthusiastic when it comes to new translations, especially into a so called “small” language. And I find it particularly valuable to make translations that allow people of the Buddha’s own country, India, to access his teachings.

The problem that you describe with Hindi exists, I think, for many languages: they are only accessible to a small minority of people, due to ancient or highly academic language.

I too am not a linguist, but trained in a very different profession, and am engaged in a Sutta translation project nevertheless. So why not you?

Once you have agreed with Bhante Sujato on a translation project, I am happy to help with practical guidance and answering questions as far as I can.


Thank you Ayya @sabbamitta for your kind words of encouragement. There is no rush for any of it. Let the process happen when it is convenient for all parties concerned. In the meanwhile, I am studying other documents in Bilara about formatting, navigation, syntax etc.
With Metta


Not sure if you have already found it, but there is this guide for translators:

and this translation style guide:

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Yes I found them. Those are what I am studying now. Thank you Ayya!
with Metta

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I should add an addendum here, in case there was some doubt about it.
It is not that I am fixated on translating only in Gujarati. My intention was based on the assumption that having translations in as many languages as possible was a preferred scenario for SuttaCentral. If on the other hand, the preferred situation is to have more translations in the already existing categories first, I am more than happy and able to do translations in Hindi.
With Metta

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Thank you again. It would be good to have Bhante @sujato’s input on this.

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Thanks to Sabbamitta for alerting me on this!


Very nice! As it happens, I was on pindapata the other day, and a kind gentleman from Gujarat offered me some dana. We spoke at some length, and I mentioned that we hoped to have translations in Gujarati!

Indeed, I think this is a common pattern among first-generation translations. We need to learn from them and express the texts more meaningfully.

We would be delighted to have you!

Either or both Hindi and Gujarati would be wonderful. We don’t have a particular policy in terms of what we are doing first, just welcoming whatever our volunteers are offering.

Ideally, if you are to undertake this, it’s be good to seek a collaborator to act, at least, as a proofreader. A native speaker can help us iron out our clumsy idioms, they don’t have to be experts.

Meanwhile, I’ll call @carmi in on this conversation. She will introduce you to the project and get you started.


Thanks for responding, Bhante!

I am still going to invite @trusolo to the translators discussion thread where we discuss problems and questions, technical or others, that may affect many or all translators.

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Thank you very much @sujato, @sabbamitta and @carmi. I will start posting on the Translator’s discussion thread about this topic.
With much gratitude!

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I am glad there is some synchronicity associated with this. I have been thinking about this for months and finally decided to act on it. It is somewhat distressing that the only widely visible “translation” of Buddhadhamma in Gujarati is by Osho!

I will call on collaborators once I am familiar enough with Bilara to be able to successfully upload a translation.
@carmi Please let me know when the project is created and thank you for all your help. As I mentioned elsewhere, my github account is under the name trush23 and not my username here. Let me know if I need to keep them the same.
Thank you very much. I am excited about this new adventure!


OMG that is distressing!

As another point of synchronicity, I was in Perth in the 80s, when the second-largest Osho community was active, and they were thinking of moving the whole thing to WA. In fact, I had a girlfriend whose father was a Rajneeshi, and a chemistry professor at a local Uni. In the days before they got around to making ecstasy illegal, he used to cook it up in his lab and they’d sell it down at the Seaview Tavern. Much spirituality ensued!

Bilara isn’t for uploading translations, it’s for making them.

Generally speaking, if you have an already-existing translation, we’ll just make that into an HTML file and we can use it on SC, but not in Bilara.

If you want to add pre-existing translations to Bilara, you’ll have to do it by cut-and-pasting each segment in the appropriate field. It’s time consuming, but in some cases it’s worth it. Up to you.

The advantage of Bilara is that you can focus solely on the translation, and everything else is handled automatically. And the more you translate, the more you’ll be assisted by the translation memory, which helps keep you consistent.

You can export your Bilara translations and put them in any form you like (for example, make an HTML file to upload to your own website). But you can’t import files, because Bilara files need to be broken up or “segmented” to match the Pali, and that cannot be automated.

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Ah yes, sorry, wrong choice of words. I meant complete a translation or be reasonably confident at using Bilara. I do have translations that can be uploaded but I would rather use Bilara. Thanks for the short synopsis of how each option works.

The neighborhood I grew up in (in Mumbai) has the dubious distinction of propelling not one but two penniless “seers” into international fame and wealth - Hare Rama Hare Krishna and Osho!! The neighborhood has a concentration of rich movie stars and business folks along with normal middle class folks. The former group contributed to their initial establishment, stability, and reach.


Updates @sujato @sabbamitta @karl_lew @carmi (not sure whom to tag actually):
I have finished translating MN1 in both Gujarati and Hindi. At this point, I would like to seek help from potential collaborators. I would really appreciate it if you are a native Hindi or Gujarati speaker and would proofread the translations. Suggestions regarding the translations for better readability are also welcome. I don’t exactly know what the steps are to give collaborators access to the translations but I am sure it is straightforward and will be explained when the time comes.
If you would like to volunteer to read the translations in Hindi or Gujarati, please let me know in this thread
In the meanwhile, here are a few points worth mentioning from this first translation experience.

  1. This should be considered as a “first-pass” translation as I am sure I will have to revisit them to change a word here or there as I do more translations.
  2. In the Gujarati version I have written a few comments in English in the comments column. They are meant only for myself, the Bilara translation team, and the collaborators to explain the logic or issues behind the translation choices. I will remove them once the translation is satisfactory. They are not meant for the general reader.
  3. For this translation, I haven’t maintained the Pali grammatical sentence structure always but I also haven’t deviated too much from it and sometimes used words that might not be in current day-to-day vocabulary and not try to find current colloquial words for everything.

At this point, while I continue with the next suttas, I would like to know about the ease of reading of the translations and whether the meanings and contexts were understandable or not. In my personal opinion, they satisfy both criteria :grin: but I would like independent opinions.
Thank you very much!
PS: I am posting this here and not in Bilara Translators thread so as to reach a wider audience.


That’s fantastic! I’d suggest making a separate post asking for collaborators. Even use Gujarati in the post title.

If you can’t find anyone, let us know, and we’ll see if we can reach out.


Ok sounds good! I will do that. Thanks @sujato